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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Clown Syndrome

Everything you need to know about Trump's appeal (such as it is) is summed up in this here article, including its main photograph. His fat-old-cracker ratio is nearly perfect; aside from that, not so much. And he's leading in five of our most useless states, most of which fall squarely into the typical red-state paradigm of low quality-of-life metrics, and aside from Florida and Texas, take more than they contribute in federal revenue.

This is a consistent dynamic, the takers who think they're makers, the stereotypical teabagger who fancies himself a rugged individualist, even though he'll be goddamned if he'll stop collecting his Social Security even after he's recouped what he put in, and he's got a brother-in-law on the public tit. These are the same fucking rubes who bought into Sarah Palin, and still hold out hope that she'll become Trump's running mate. These dipshit crackers would write in the ghost of Lester Maddox or Bull Connor if they could.

It will be fun (and hilarious!) to watch their inevitable caterwauling after their latest wampeter lets them down. There is no other possible outcome, unless every minority and everyone under forty just decides not to vote, or loses their collective fucking mind. The bottom line is, the demographics are just not there; the angry old assholes may vote 100% of the time, but there are fewer of them than they suppose. The idea that Alabama might be remotely representative of the nation as a whole would keep most of us up at night, if it weren't so ludicrous.

The Democrats oughta send Trump a thank-you card when this is all over. There is a very good chance that, as the silly season continues and solidifies, Mister Man's campaign will be the catalyzing event that either demolishes a reeling party, or in the event of an early third-party bail by Trump, allows it to jettison its nutjob base and begin a return to some version of sanity.

All In

The 2016 primaries don't even start for another five months or so, making it premature to start counting Hillary Clinton out, or even down. Way too much emphasis is placed on states like Iowa, where no one lives and whose votes align with the rest of the country mostly by statistical coincidence. And the email server scandal will probably go the way of Benghazi(!), slowing the momentum and distracting a few fence-sitters, but not much else.

The decline in Clinton's numbers lies partly due to Trump, partly to Sanders, but mostly to the fact that she's flat and uninspiring and temperamentally insincere. Her numbers will reverse and stabilize, as will Trump's, but in the context of late-summer empty speculation, it at least provides an opportunity to look both at the Democrats' bench, and how heavily the party establishment had already committed to Hillary's success. Notably absent from that is any sort of endorsement from the leaders of the current administration, the junior member of which had a weekend pow-wow with Elizabeth Warren.

Weirdness is afoot for the time being, but again, all that will shake out in the months to come. But what bodes for the party in the years to come? As the GOP becomes more and more unhinged and marginalized, a truly enterprising political party might see this as an opportunity to decouple from the ratchet-pawl pelf-grab the system has become.

Knowing the obscene amounts of money spent on this circus is one thing, knowing where it goes is another. Advertising through the same media that needs a horse race to keep the rates high is the primary use of the money; the industry of peckerhead pollsters and consultants is another. These folks get paid regardless of the outcome. In the meantime, more profit is generated by keeping it close, by inflating buffoons and downplaying contenders.

Hillary has an ace-in-the-hole that no other candidate from either party has -- Bill Clinton, easily the most charismatic politician since JFK, whose stature inexplicably wasn't even diminished by his signing the repeal of Glass-Steagall. The man is politically bulletproof, and can still convince people like the best televangelists only dream of. Once the real season gets underway, Hillary doesn't need to say much of anything -- she just needs to pull the Big Dog out of whoever he's balls-deep in that week, and put him at the podium.

In a political season where "populism" and "antiestablishment" sentiments are supposedly the driving factors, you just watch how soon the tide will predictably turn right back to tedious incrementalism. I hold out hope for Sanders, but also realize that the "left" in this country is really just a bunch of yuppie suburban assholes who would sell their children's economic prospects down the river just for the false promise of selecting a couple of SCOTUS occupants who might hold the line for the right to get an abortion (which has been severely curtailed throughout the country with or without the Supreme Court). They'll turn on Sanders the very second they can find an excuse to exhume the sad bones of Ralph Nader.

Just as the movement to curtail reproductive rights cannot survive without the involvement of misguided women, neither can you end up with a "liberal" party that does very little for true economic and social justice, without the bien pensant meddling of former idealists who play just not to lose, and have lost whatever compelling vision they thought they had when they were dropping acid and blowing Jerry Garcia at Woodstock. The only thing worse than someone who sells out is someone who refuses to admit the obvious.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

OK Stupid

So looks like good ol' Josh Duggar has stepped on his dick yet again, getting caught in the Ashley Madison hack not only as a denizen of that site, but apparently he has an OK Cupid account as well. Knock me over with a feather.

Unlike sanctimonious, holier-than-thou shitheads like, well, the entire Duggar family, most of us realize that humans are messy, complex, full of contradictions and complications. The difference is that most of us do not earn a cushy living trying to legislate morality for all.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Flag Hags

It's been a minute since America's Favorite Shitbird, walking ham sandwich George Zimmerman, has done something stupid, but like the sun being forced to rise in the east to watch us collectively abuse the planet one more blessed day, it was inevitable that Zimmerman and stupid would be paired up again.

Since one would assume that Zimmerman is virtually unemployable at this point -- I mean, it's not like any of his mouth-breathing supporters have stepped up to, you know, offer him a fucking job -- it makes sense that he'd try something like this. Joining up with some other Florida doofus, this one a gun shop owner who has bravely (and illegally) declared his bidness a moooooslim-free zone, seems almost made-to-order.

When it comes to judging art, I am pretty much aligned (believe it or not) with Rush Limbaugh, of all people. Limbaugh, in a Playboy interview many years ago, once said (more or less verbatim):  "Look. If I can do it, it's not art. Okay?" As someone whose artistic output is strictly limited to musical instruments, and only then after thousands of hours of hard work and practice, I am not fond of the notion that just because someone puts a frame around a turd, that it suddenly won't stink.

And near as I can tell, Zimmerman's magnum excrementum looks like he spent about an hour slapping paint on a slab of OSB with a used Ace Hardware pig-bristle brush. He might as well have been painting a chicken coop. The stenciled letters are a nice touch, though his free-hand needs some work. I mean, there are guys in every small town across this great land of ours who do shit like this with much better lettering, for about a hundred-fifty bucks a sign. This fucking maroon thinks he's going to split high-five/low-six G's with Maynard for this thing. And knowing this country, he's got even odds on that. Nothing surprises me anymore.

But Zimmerman's yard-sale sigil is useful in plumbing the continued teleology of southern apologists and unrepentant rednecks. Why does Zimmerman choose that particular symbol, what heuristic purpose does it serve? Or, working in reverse, what does the traitor loser battle flag have to do with the pudgy killer who painted it, or the islamophobic business owner the painter has allied himself with? The answer there, of course, is absolutely nothing, except that it will piss off Those People. Which naturally answers the first question as well, its heuristic purpose in the first place.

This has been one of those summers where random internets keyboard warriors have bravely declaimed the "offense" that others have taken against their traitor loser flag. This is purely anecdotal, but everything I've seen has indicated the opposite:  countless Facebook memes whinging about how a good ol' boy jest cain't have his flag anymores without someone complainin' 'bout it, and more variations on that theme than anyone in their right mind would care to contemplate.

Maybe the best part about all of this is just how hilarious the history of the traitors' various flags really is. They kept having to change the design, first because the original flag was too close to that of the nation they were betraying, and then because there was so much white it looked like a surrender flag. I think this bespeaks the utter ineptitude around which the entire concept of this vile slave-holding traitor despotism took hold.

The biggest problem is that the south never had a true reckoning, not one that meant anything. Sure, Sherman went scorched-earth en route to Atlanta, but that was about it. The southern states spent the subsequent 100 years persecuting the people they had enslaved, kidnapped, raped, tortured, murdered, and plundered for the previous 200 years. They were unrepentant of all crimes in both eras. They have never apologized because they are not sorry.

Once again, let's simplify the entire dynamic for the cousin-fuckers out there: 
  • Nobody cares about you flying your confederate flag on your truck or your house or your wall. Nobody is offended by it, they just assume that it's a signifier to like-minded halfwits, that meth and/or pit bulls can be found within fifty feet of the bespangled bumwipe.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard -- a silly teevee show that no one in their right mind had even thought about in at least thirty years -- was taken off of TV Land ten days after its syndication run began, not because of some imaginary outcry by bien pensant libruls, but because Warner Brothers, which owns the rights to the show, had suspended sales of all of its confederate flag merch in the wake of the Charleston shootings. As with the Dork Density mishegas, this was not political correctness, this was pure business.
  • The most outspoken supporters of your piece-of-shit flag are the worst fucking examples of humanity this country has to offer. They are straight from central casting for "someone who looks like they just got done fucking a farm animal". You are fighting a losing battle -- worse yet, for no goddamned reason at all. The biggest adherents to your lost cause are also the biggest arguments against it.

Frankly, I don't put too much stock in delving into the "mindset" of these cretins, anymore than I get the idea of trying to "understand" child rapists or animal torturers. It's a waste of time, as far as I'm concerned. But some folks of a more scientific bent like to tilt at such windmills, as if it will help in the fields of psychology or penology or what-have-you.

Once again, I'll take the liberty of repeating one of my many mantras, as they are central to understanding people and life, and we should repeat them often, to remind us of what should be obvious:  It is a waste of time trying to deal rationally with irrational people. That doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't try to figure out what their deal is, if only to deal predictively with their behavior, if nothing else.

But converting them, talking sense into them, showing them the light -- it ain't gonna happen. They find out on their own, when life breaks one too many off in their ass, or they never figure it out at all, dying angry and embittered at their imaginary demons. These traitor-loser-flag folks have been voting against themselves for going on three generations now. Your facts mean nothing to them.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Moral Majority

Another day, another hypocritical "values" asshole with his dick caught in some strange:

Federal and state officials are calling for a Michigan lawmaker to resign after it emerged on Friday that he used his taxpayer-funded office to launch a smear campaign against himself, claiming that he had been caught having sex with a male prostitute.

In audio recordings obtained by the Detroit News, Representative Todd Courser was heard asking a now-fired aide to email Republican activists with the false report, in an attempt to distract from an alleged affair with another social conservative, state Representative Cindy Gamrat.

....

Neither Courser, a married father of four, nor Gamrat, a married mother of three, directly confirmed or denied having a sexual relationship during the recorded conversations. But they also didn’t dispute Graham’s characterization of their relationship as an extramarital affair, the newspaper reported.

Courser said the email he wanted Graham to send would “inoculate the herd” – an apparent reference to his and Gamrat’s supporters.
I'm not sure why he would go to so much trouble to cover up his misbehavior. It's not like these "values voters" morons actually mean what they say. How do you think that shithead Scott DesJarlais keeps getting re-elected?

US Representative Candice Miller issued a statement on Friday, calling for his immediate resignation. “This behavior is a slap in the face, especially from someone who presents himself as a moralist.”

Liberal advocacy organizations also jumped into the fray, with one saying the pair violated their oath of office. And the whirlwind of a story that involves two social conservatives who consistently cite their religious beliefs – Courser has a penchant for penning verbose manifestos on state issues, and occasionally signs off with “In Christ Alone” – didn’t emerge without a joke from across the aisle.

State senator David Knezek, a Democrat, tweeted: “On the phone since 3am trying to find out which of my gay friends ruined these two traditional marriages. No leads.”

Courser and Gamrat are known for their strenuous opposition to same-sex marriage. In June, Courser introduced a bill to prohibit municipal officials from officiating marriages. Writing on the bill, he said: “Our elected officials could be forced to perform same sex marriages” if the US supreme court overturned Michigan’s ban.
Yup, same as it ever was.

Blood Libel

You knew the Clownstick implosion was inevitable, but this quickly? Maybe the most fun part of it will be watching his maroon "fans" piss and moan at the unfair treatment their wampeter got from what has basically been his home team.

This is as good an opportunity as ever to bring up again just how weird Trump is, in this observer's humble opinion anyway. I've said this before:  if I'm even a tenth as wealthy as Trump claims to be, if I have walking-away money for the next several generations, I'm fucking walking away. I am not spending my time on Twitter wars and virtual slapfights; I'm not even paying a flunky for that bullshit. I'm on my fucking 300-foot yacht wherever the weather is nicest, living on endless surf-and-turf and Ketel One and Russian supermodel poontang. Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with this guy?

Beyond all the bluster and bullshit and dick-waving self-aggrandizement this asshole has been known for, beyond the cult of dipshits who think he can "fix" everything, this is the most unsettling thing about Trump. There's something to be said about someone who doesn't take any shit from anyone; many's the time we all wish Obama had had a little "fuck you" in his bones to throw back at McConnell and Boehner and the rest of them.

But that seems to be Clownstick's default setting. This is the guy that's going to be negotiating trade deals and arms treaties, this thin-skinned douchebag, this cartoon character blow-dried mook? He can't take a "tough question" at a dog-and-pony debate, but he's going to go balls-deep with Putin and the Chinese and the mullahs? Really?

So far, the guy has proven to be Palin with a penis and a worse hair weave. Everyone else is a loser, crude assertions are pulled directly out of the alimentary canal and waved around as empirical facts, disagreements and cheap shots are reacted to as if they were the gravest of insults. No true solutions are offered for anything, just magic-wand if-I-were-king bafflegab. He'll keep the Mexicans out by building a wall and making them pay for it. He would have resolved the Iran nuclear crisis by doubling or tripling sanctions. You bang your wife doggy style, he'd do her reverse cowgirl and make her forget all about you. And so forth.

I don't know what's scarier -- the fact that Trump's followers clearly swallow this horseshit unquestioningly, or that Trump might seriously believe it himself. He understands his audience, knows that his "message" appears to old, bewildered shitheads who don't have the goddamned decency to go find an ice floe to push themselves off onto already. The idea that he can't be bought because he's already wealthy doesn't quite stick either, because as Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina found out the hard way here in Cali, only a moron spends their own money running for office. So Clownstick has to raise money just like anyone else, once push comes to shove.

I think we need to start looking at the long game here, and what ramifications it has for the Republican Party, which may implode regardless of whether Trump goes third-party or stays in the GOP fray. The party is increasingly driven by its most vocal, loose-cannon extra-chromosome base, people who do not do nuance or big-picture thinking. The world and the nation keep moving on, have left these dopey, ancient crackers behind, and they just can't stand it.

So the question becomes which blustery goofball becomes their next rock star. They get worse and worse with each iteration, from Fredo Arbusto to Caribou Barbie to Ted Cruz to Fuckface Von Clownstick. Sooner or later they're going to strike oil on one of these kampfers, someone with the same message, but smoother, subtler, bluster-free and truly charismatic.

Watching future Cali governor Gavin Newsom last night on Bill Maher's show, sandwiched between Republican consultants Steve Schmidt and Mary Matalin, I was struck at how effortlessly charismatic the guy is. He's good-looking and well-spoken, but what sets Newsom apart is how carefully he chooses his words, and how deftly he co-opts moderate Republican talking points. He understands intrinsically that politics is niched too much to be won by doubling down on your base appeal. You have to get the fence-sitters to take a look at you, and you do that by not saying or doing stupid things that spook the horses. It will be a few more election cycles, probably 2024 or 2028 (or 2020 if Clinton somehow loses next year), but I would be very surprised if Newsom doesn't take a shot at the big ring at some point.

Sooner or later the Goopers will figure that out; indeed, they may have that very person waiting in the wings in Marco Rubio. Out of all the clown car occupants at the big kids' table Thursday night, only Rubio and maybe John Kasich came off as anything resembling reasonable. Neither of them would make a good president, but both understand the value of appearing inclusive and comparatively moderate, and not stomping every hot-button issue into the floor.

And while Hillary Clinton is no doubt dancing in her pantsuit watching this slow-motion clusterfuck, nothing is settled. She has as many negatives as positives; she turns off as many people as she appeals to. Probably ninety percent of the people who will vote for her will do so reluctantly, waiting and wishing for someone better, someone less oleaginous and transparently insincere. Why on earth would I want to vote for someone who willingly hangs out with the likes of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, did someone seriously tell her this would be a selling point to anyone? (Yes, I get it, they attended a fundraiser and snapped a selfie; the larger point remains valid.)

The Republicans will beat mercilessly on Clinton's negatives, real and fictitious, and no doubt create some new ones in the process. It is going to be ugly, and probably closer than people might assume, whether or not Clownstick blows up the narrative by going, um, rogue. If Rubio can polish his own narrative a bit, moderate his impulses, reach beyond the doddering base that can't seem to decide on which asshole of the week they want to roll with, he could make things even weirder than they already are. Getcha popcorn.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Spy Kids

Like you need to be told, but don't be fooled by the bullshit Microsoft commercial with the dopey, grinning babies. Windows 10 is just a permanent low-jack on your system, archiving your porn searches, keylogging your diatribes, compiling an ongoing dossier on your ass. "She'll be able to log in with her smile!" Hey, fuck you. I don't want it, and I don't need it. My computer ain't broke, and yet they're insisting on "fixing" it for me. Stop. Just stop.

They can't even explain why they're skipping from 8 to 10; my assumption is that they got balls-deep into 9 before realizing it was so botched, they had to get moving on 10 before they could even close out the 9 project. Having a project management degree, I know how these guys think. It would be against PMBOK principles to close out a failed project without a "lessons learned" end cycle.

From a technical standpoint, I'm caught in the middle:  not technically adept enough to work with Linux, nor do I want to learn; but also not a drooling moron who needs my computer to wait on me like a needy sex slave. I don't need something that catalogs my every thought and lets the inept gubmint look at it when they please. I just need something that I can keep my tons of books and music on, play games once in a while, work on my websites, use office software to keep writing books and working on various projects, and the occasional porn. Windows 7 does all that just fine. There is no need for this shit, and I resent them trying to push it with babies. What next, kittens playing?

Golem

I've never really been the "guilty pleasure" type, but I have to confess that I'm enjoying this Clownstick thing more and more by the day. Whether he intends it or not, Trump and his candidacy have revealed more about our sclerotic joke of a political system in general, and the Republican party in particular, than perhaps even Trump himself would want.

This is the natural, entirely foreseeable result of Citizens United, of the teatards' jabbering incoherence and raving toxicity being empowered and enabled. Since they are for nothing, only against things, and don't know or care how things actually work, the teatards act as an attacking swarm of fire ants, mindlessly converging on a target until they're bored with it, moving on to the next one. Johnny Walnuts had their reluctant fealty when he had the northern sorceress at his side, and hardly seven years later, he might as well be Jerry Brown or Jimmy Carter as far as they're concerned. Boehner and McConnell are next.

Clownstick understands how this game is played, understands his audience, knows that you never apologize and never admit wrongdoing. Even ol' Billy Jeff, likely to be your future first First Gentleman come November next year, once famously opined that 'murcans would rather be strong and wrong than weak and right. Trump has honed this knowledge to a science, perfected the technique, finessing his bluster and turning his greatest weakness -- an almost bizarrely thin skin, a complete inability to take even a mild joke at his expense -- into a "take no shit" demeanor that jibes perfectly with how his maroon followers see themselves, at least when their parole officers aren't around.

Pack all of your ongoing "cultural" signifiers into a hobo's bindle, and to an item they perfectly align with these miscreants' view of everything -- the world, the country, themselves. They seriously do not get that they are in the minority on these issues, that most people know that the traitor loser flag was a direct product of one of the most vile institutions known to humankind, and the only reason it was brought back in 1961 was to tell civil rights activists to fuck off. That most people understand that Benghazi!!1!one!! is a crock of shit kept alive by liars and intellectual perverts. That the Republican party has become a haven for crackpots and sociopaths, bankrolled by a handful of evil old men who literally do not understand money the way you or I or almost anyone else understands money.

The Iran nuclear "deal" is just the newest sack of steaming horseshit for them to sift through and smear on the walls. It is a perfect example of how their collective mindset is about fifty years out of date. The Cold War mindset is no longer operational, no matter how much Putin "rears his head" and annexes pieces of Ukraine. Iran is not going to blithely accept the conditions of a treaty signed by the hated shah 45 years ago, while its next-door neighbors build their arsenals.

Trump's reaction to the deal was just priceless, though. He said something to the effect that he would have "doubled" or "tripled" sanctions on the Iranians, presumably until they said  "uncle". That's all well and good, but it rings with the mindless bluster of someone who doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about. For one, sanctions were internationally imposed, and were on the verge of expiring and collapsing, with no international support for renewal. European countries trade quite freely with Iran, and as the EU continues to unravel, the sanctions are hurting their bottom line. It's just business, and even a thrice-bankrupted casino huckster like Clownstick should understand that. Without international support for sanctions, you've got another Cuba on your hands, something the rest of the world looks for decades on as a monumental waste of time.

Secondly, despite how the deal is being portrayed as a handshake between John Kerry and the mullahs, this is a multilateral deal -- Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany are also signatories to this. It's an acknowledgement of reality, that the world is multipolar rather than unipolar or bipolar (heh) and we can't just piss on any and every hydrant we feel like anymore. Trump reinforces the notion, which should have been dispelled over the last decade in the sands of Sykes-Picot's hundredth anniversary, that we call all shots. It ain't like that anymore, hoss, and no amount of John Wayne posturing will change that.

That too is the fault of the elites:  globalization really means interdependence, which means that if we fuck around too much and China decides to stop buying our T-bills as a hedge for their own economic issues, we're fucked. They're fucked too, of course, but they dropped some 20 million souls during the Great Revolution, just from famine and hardship. They're not afraid to take a hit, where we talk a big game about sacrifice, but reserve the actual sacrifice for the 1% who actually participate in the warrior caste. There are no Clownsticks in the fucking army, nor will there ever be. This is all a money game, and there is no money to be had in serving, only in contracting.

While the Koch Brothers and Shelly Adelson and Foster Friess and Donald Trump use money to keep score and measure their shriveled, lifeless cocks, the rest of the world scrambles for crumbs just to stay afloat, to pay the mortgage, to buy food and medical care and birthday presents for the kids, to keep the student loan sharks at bay one more month, to purchase the fading glimmer of hope that maybe things will work out. It would be bad enough if these obscenely wealthy, do-nothing cocksuckers just hoarded their pelf and hid from the world; far worse that they instead choose to use said pelf to turn what's left of the working class on itself, against each other.

I don't feel a bit sorry for the working-class dogs who've been tricked mercilessly into voting against their own rational self-interest. I agree with them that the beauty of freedom and capitalism is that we are free to choose a great many things. And in a world where information is free and over-abundant, they choose to run after the bright shiny object, the fools' gold of reality teevee hucksters and comic-book movie franchises. They asked for all this; they still want it. Mencken was right that they deserve to get it good and hard. Try to insulate yourselves from the consequences as best you can. As I've been saying for some time now, I hear Costa Rica is nice.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Wondering Where the Lions Are

While the spontaneous outrage over the senseless murder of a magnificent, endangered animal is heartening, it's not enough to even scratch the surface. Some 600 lions (out of about 30,000 total, so 2%)are killed by hunters every year; some two-thirds of those hunters are American. Finally the US Fish and Wildlife Service, after declining the opportunity last year, is looking into reclassifying lions from "threatened" to "endangered" status. This would ban the importation of "trophies" and other such totems for over-compensating douchebags with too much money and not enough penis.

Fuck Walter Palmer, right in the fucking eye socket with a rusty corkscrew. I respect hunters who stock their freezers for the winter, and work with wildlife ecosystems. There is a legitimate role for deer and duck hunters. But I have no respect for rich cocksuckers who just enjoy killing shit. So I'm sincerely joyful that, at least for the time being, Palmer's practice and life appear to be ruined. He's a liar and a poacher and a piece of shit. He spends more money than most hard-working people earn in a goddamned year for the cheap thrill of killing an increasingly scarce animal. Seems like Viagra or enlargement surgery would be more cost-effective.

It's been impressive to see how quickly the popular tide was turned against the currently pre-eminent symbol of division and hate, the confederate flag. The only thing good about that flag is that it comes in two-ply. If I wasn't such a lazy bastard I'd get a full-sized flag, make a video of myself taking a massive, steaming, soupy, vodka-and-beef-jerky dump on it, then wiping my ass with it, and driving to some "sacred" traitor loser monument and leaving it on Nathan Bedford Fucking Forrest Gump's bronzed fool head.

Fuck that flag and everything it stands for. But what it took for the tide to take a righteous turn was a tragic catalyzing event. Since that event and the righteous shitstorm, there has been some pushback, but mostly of the useless-white-noise ('scuse the pun) variety on Facebook. The only ones getting out there on the issue are the lunatic racist fringe, the knuckle-dragging shitbags that even hardcore teabaggers can't defend.

Maybe the same thing can happen here, with trophy hunting. The trophy hunters are bad enough, but they are at least technically legal, so they can be kept track of. Illegal hunters and poachers are worse, lurking in the shadows, waiting opportunistically, uncaring about the destruction they cause. Habitat encroachment is a huge problem as well, but one that could be managed, theoretically.

Most of us wonder from time to time what we might do if somehow awarded with what I would call "walking away" money, the kind of eight- or nine-figure windfall that would enable you to either be like some clich├ęd Powerball loser, or make a real difference. I shit you not that in such an event, I'd put some serious money toward rounding up a team of mercenaries, real Delta Force / Soldier of Fortune types, and just give them a hefty year's wages to go find every poaching gang or individual within 500 miles of a nature preserve, and skull-fuck the lot of them with Kalashnikovs.

I don't even care if they're poor villagers with families to feed; it is not the role of endangered animals to go extinct in order to support overpopulation of the human virus. That too is the fault of wealthier countries, though, since they pay dearly to either kill the animals or to harvest their parts for trophies or aphrodisiacs. Vicariously it'd be wonderful to hunt those fuckers down as well.

Realistically, I think we're at an impasse. Tigers are already nearly gone -- there are more tigers in Texas than in the rest of the world combined, and that has been the case for some time -- and elephants, lions, and rhinos are not that far behind. The fucking Chinese, who are almost solely responsible for the use of tiger parts, need to start cracking down on their gluttonous idiots, the way they control everything else in their citizens' lives.

I'd happily send my big-money Delta team to the tiger ranches as well, tune up those motherfuckers and their shitbird customers. These are people who add nothing to the world, they just take and kill and destroy. Fuck them. Let them find honest work. Seriously, is every dick broken over there or something, is there that much of a need to send everything into extinction because they can't get a fucking boner?

But China won't crack down on them, won't do anything about any of this. The tigers will be gone soon enough, followed by the other species mentioned, but there will be ever more humans, breeding, greeding, grasping, killing, fucking, sucking their way to oblivion. Most humans do not hate the earth and its wondrous creations, but those that do, that vile minority, do so with impunity, and have scaled their heedless destruction to the point of no return. We do not need an infinite supply of eaters in those already over-supplied areas, we need more of our precious wildlife resources and ecosystems. And we don't need any more assholes who self-actualize by destroying the rare and the beautiful.

The fucking meteor can't hit soon enough.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Watchmen

Because this nation never runs out of maroons, since last week's massacre at a Chattanooga recruiting station, self-styled "protectors" across the country have taken it upon themselves to sit outside military recruiting sites (which, you know, are generally located at shopping malls) in folding chairs, armed and ready to take all comers.

There's the Knight Templar with his bow and quiver of arrows (since he's not allowed to have a gun, even though he's a military veteran), the guy who accidentally discharged his assault rifle into the mall parking lot (for the second time), the three cosplayers (two of whom are supposedly disabled, one of those a former Marine, and the third (non-disabled but still goofy) one also a former Marine. The Pentagon has had to tell them to stop, because by definition, maroons don't already know they shouldn't be doing this in the first place.

To a certain extent, I actually feel bad for some of these folks; clearly, the VA is not keeping up with its end of the deal in providing decent mental health care and counseling. When a disabled vet is sitting in his Rascal in US flag onesie pajamas (swear to jebus, I didn't know such a thing existed, but of course it does) with a presumably loaded assault rifle, some things have gone wrong.

Definitely read the comments in the Wonkette article; a person claiming to be the female cosplayer (with the rather telling middle name in her handle of "WhiteKnight") tries to troll the snark, and rightly gets her ass handed to her. If the two men with her are in fact veterans, we thank them for their service, now please go home.

There are a couple of big issues here:  one obviously being that we cannot have random costumed weirdos brandishing weapons at mall patrons, regardless of their intent. But secondly, seriously? Is the Knight Templar and his armor and bow supposed to stop a whackjob with a semi-automatic? Are the reflexes on Onesie Marine -- you know, the disabled guy in the Rascal -- going to be superior to some dedicated madman on a rampage?

A central assumption in the gun culture is that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. And one supposes that in the right circumstances and the right conditions, it's better than nothing. But that's really all it is. Shall these goofballs set up posts at movie theaters to prevent deranged racists from shooting up the next showing of Trainwreck? Or do we look at the statistics and numbers, and understand that that would by definition be a more dangerous proposition than having nothing at all?

These would-be militia mutants don't seem to get that an untrained fool with a gun is actually statistically worse than nothing at all. And by "training" I don't just mean weapons training, though that doesn't hurt, as far as knowing how to handle your weapon and use it properly. But the difference between a self-styled militia schmuck is that if he "trained" at all, he did so by shooting targets and maybe running an obstacle course set up in the grand wizard's backyard, maybe some calisthenics here and there.

But any good beat cop or even mall cop will tell you that the most effective, meaningful training is learning how to deal with the public, how to defuse situations before they even start, how to steer people into doing what you need them to do to maintain order, without them even thinking about it. Response is nice, but prevention is much more important -- and these people don't even mention or think about that. It interferes with their dream of some Osama type walking up, threatening the good citizens of Gotham, and getting dispatched righteously, with no collateral damage. That's how it works in the movies, anyway.

As with the bozo in Ohio accidentally firing his rifle into the asphalt, he's just goddamned lucky -- again, for the second time in a couple years -- that no one got hit or hurt. Pure luck, nothing else. A slightly different angle, a couple radians off on the ricochet, and you have a tragic event. Someone needs to pull these apparently jobless dopes aside and break it to them gently:  Look, you're in the minority, you're just louder. But here's the deal -- we don't want you "guarding" our schools, our malls, our military recruitment offices. We want you to take your fucking penis extension and go home, settle down, pull up whatever excites you on the internets, knock out a few generations of knuckle-children, and sleep it off.

We'll get by somehow, understanding that life has randomness built into it, and that in a nation of 320 million people, some of them are insane, incompetent, malicious, whatever. That car you just passed on the highway could easily have had a split-second distraction, swerved into your lane. A crazy asshole could take advantage of lax gun laws, get his weapon of choice, pack up his shit and crank out an incoherent manifesto in a hotel room, and walk into a movie theater and start sweeping.

This is not to say that because shit happens, no precautions should be put anywhere. That's ridiculous. But what is just as ridiculous is this notion that every man is a potential John Wayne, just needing the right place and opportunity to prove his heroism. I would rather take my statistically infinitesimal chances with the random psychopaths, than deal with the would-be do-gooders who are off their meds.

Devil's Advocate

So this must be one of those "assaults on religious freedumbs" we keep hearing about:
Shofars sounded amid the chanting and cheering, clapping and crying as about 100 people crowded together on a strip of sidewalk in Eastern Market today to pray and protest the Satanic Temple’s plans to unveil a Baphomet monument in Detroit later tonight.
....
A news release billed the unveiling as the largest Satanic ceremony in history. The event was ticket-only, and the location was to be given via email to ticket holders on Saturday.

Those in the crowd were not having it.
....
The bronze statute weighs one ton and stands nearly 9 feet tall. It has horns, hooves, wings and a beard. It had been planned for the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, until Oklahoma’s Supreme Court banned religious displays on Capitol grounds.

As the crowd grew, two women huddled on their hands and knees as people sang and prayed over them. One of them crawled through the crowd, tears falling in big drops to the pavement. “The blood of Jesus,” she recited, over and over.
Yeah, that'll help. Good grief.

It would be nice to know a little more about this "Satanic Temple" beyond the Baphomet statue. Where are they based? How many people are part of it? Do they have a spokesperson, do they have other plans? Answering questions such as those is admittedly a bit more challenging than transcribing the babblings and brayings of the addled faithful, but if this organization plays its cards right -- and so far they have -- they could conceivably push to get all religions back into their places of worship and the homes of their respective believers.

Which is where such things belong.